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Being able to quickly charge your phone or tablet can mean the difference between hours of care-free use or scrambling to find the nearest coffee shop for a power outlet. Fast charging is an increasingly popular feature that allows you to power up your device in just a fraction of the time it takes to do it the old-fashioned way. But not all products use the same type of fast charging—and not all chargers support the various standards. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re getting the fastest charge possible.
how to identify fast charging cable micro usb
How To Tell Fast Charging Cable
Understanding Fast Charging
The output of a charge is measured in amperage and voltage. Amperage (or current) is the amount of electricity flowing from the battery to the connected device, while voltage is the strength of the electric current. Multiplying volts by amps gives you wattage, the measure of total power.
To make a device charge faster, most manufacturers either boost the amperage or vary the voltage in order to increase the amount of potential energy. The majority of fast charging standards typically vary the voltage rather than boost the amperage.
Standard USB 3.0 ports output at a level of 5V/1A for smaller devices like wearables. Most phones and other devices are capable of handling 5V/2.4A. For fast charging, you’re looking at something that bumps the voltage up 5V, 9V, 12V, and beyond, or increases amperage to 3A and above.
Keep in mind, your device will only take in as much power as its charging circuit is designed for. For fast charging to work, you need a phone or other device with a charging circuit capable of using one of the fast charging standards, and an adapter and cable enabled for that same standard.
Type of Fast Charging
Apple Fast Charging
Starting with the iPhone 8, all of Apple’s phones support fast charging. Unless you own an iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, however, you’re probably using one of Apple’s slow 5W adapters to charge your phone.
Apple uses USB Power Delivery for fast charging, and claims you’ll see a 50 percent increase in battery life in just 30 minutes. In order to get these speeds, however, you need to use at least an 18W adapter with a USB-C-to-Lightning cable. A more powerful adapter won’t harm your phone, but it’s unlikely to help. We reached out to Apple to determine the most powerful adapter its iPhone lineup will support, but a representative for the company said it doesn’t disclose maximum charging specifications.
That said, you can’t go wrong with any of the options in our story on the best fast iPhone chargers, which are also linked below:
Anker PowerPort PD 2
USB C Wall Charger, Anker Premium 60W 5-Port Desktop Charger with One 30W Power Delivery Port for MacBook Air 2…
Apple 18W USB-C Power Adapter
MediaTek Pump Express
Certain MediaTek-powered phones use the company’s Pump Express standard, which comes in different versions on different devices.
Pump Express 2.0+ is primarily for MediaTek’s low-end chipsets, and works with micro USB and USB-C charging ports. Charging maxes out at 15W by using 5V to 20V variable voltage in conjunction with 3A or 4.5A of current.
Pump Express 3.0 and Pump Express 4.0 are largely the same. Both rely on 5A of current and use USB Power Delivery 3.0. The difference is that Pump Express 4.0 also supports its own proprietary wireless charging technology, as well at Qi wireless charging at 5W.
MediaTek claims Pump Express 2.0+ should charge a depleted battery to 70 percent within 30 minutes, while Pump Express 3.0 and 4.0 should cut that time in half. While these are indeed fast estimates, we didn’t quite see these results bear our when testing Pump Express 3.0. On average, we saw closer to a 55 percent charge over 15 minutes, which is still nothing to sneeze at.
Motorola Rapid Charging and TurboPower
Motorola uses two different proprietary fast charging standards, Rapid Charging and TurboPower. For the most part, the company’s less expensive Moto E and and Moto G series phones use Rapid Charging, which offers 10W charging via micro USB or USB-C. It offers a slight boost over basic 5W charging, but don’t expect to see super-fast charging times.
Motorola’s midrange and flagship phones uses a different technology called TurboPower. To be honest, TurboPower is a little confusing, and you’ll probably want to check the company’s site to find the best charger for your phone, but basically there are 15W and 18W TurboPower standards. To simplify things a bit, all Motorola smartphones with TurboPower also support Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.
OnePlus Dash Charge and Warp Charge
Dash Charge and Warp Charge are licensed from Oppo, and work the same as Vooc, bumping up amperage to 5V/4A to achieve an output of 20W. On a phone like the OnePlus 5T, you can charge up to 60 percent in 30 minutes.
Newer models like the OnePlus 8 Pro support 30W wired and wireless charging thanks to Warp Charge. Wired charging is delivered via a 5V/6A adapter and proprietary USB-C cable. Delivering 30W wireless charging speeds is more of a challenge, as it would create an extraordinary amount of heat using the standard 5V/6A formula. Instead, OnePlus delivers 20V at just 1.5A, since voltage creates far less heat.
OnePlus also uses charge pumps in an innovative way to make charging safer and more efficient. If you really want to dig into the nuts and bolts of OnePlus’ 30W wireless charging, check out Android Central’s explainer.
Oppo SuperVooc Flash Charge
Vooc is Oppo’s proprietary fast charging standard. The company has long been a leader in fast charging technology, and it currently holds the record for fastest charging speed with its 65W adapter that can fully charge the Reno Ace in just 31 minutes. In addition, Oppo is the only major manufacturer to use gallium nitride (GaN) batteries in its phones for better performance and reliability.
Oppo’s SuperVooc comes in several different flavors. The fastest is SuperVooc 2.0, which uses 10V and 6.5A to charge its phones at 65W. SuperVooc comes in at an impressive 50W maximum charge by combining 10V of electrical force and 5A of power. Vooc is the slowest of the bunch, with a maximum charging speed of 25W at 5V/5A.
In order to achieve such high speeds, Oppo phones require both a special USB-C cable and adapter.
Qualcomm Quick Charge
The most common fast charging standard is Qualcomm’s Quick Charge because of the widespread nature of the company’s chipsets. That said, many of the phones that support newer Quick Charge standards aren’t sold in the US.
Quick Charge 3.0 is one of the most common fast charging protocols used in midra, and Quick Charge 3+ brings similar speeds to midrange phones with some Qualcomm Snapdragon 700-series chipsets. Quick Charge 4+ is the the current global gold standard for flagships that don’t use proprietary fast charging technologies. Each standard is backward compatible with the previous one, so older cables and adapters will still work.
Quick Charge 3.0 dynamically boosts voltage from 3.2V to 20V, though peak power for both standards is 18W. That means, theoretically, phones with a 3,500mAh to 4,500mAh capacity can gain about 80 percent charge in just 35 minutes when the battery is depleted. Quick Charge 3+ brings similar charging speeds to less-expensive chipsets.
Quick Charge 4+ narrows the voltage range while pumping up the amperage. It offers 5V at between 4.7A to 5.6A, or 9V at 3A. Quick Charge 4+ devices use USB-C ports and are compliant with USB Power Delivery. They also have a second power management chip, allowing up to 28W of power without overheating. The LG V60 ThinQ 5G is one of a handful of US phones that support Quick Charge 4+, and in testing, we were able to get a 50 percent charge on a depleted battery in about 18 minutes.
Qualcomm recently announced Quick Charge 5. The new standard supports fast charging at 100W and can completely recharge a 4,500mAh battery in just 15 minutes. It will initially be supported on Snapdragon 865 chipsets and upcoming premium Qualcomm processors. A representative for the company told PCMag it expects to add the standard to Snapdragon 600 and 700 series chipsets at some point in the future.
Click here for a complete list of Qualcomm Quick Charge-compatible devices.
Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging works in a similar manner to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge by bumping up voltage and/or amperage. Samsung doesn’t release all the specifications for its Adaptive Fast Charging protocol, nor does it make any claims about charging times, but it provided us with some speed and support information in the charts below.
With Samsung’s optional 10V/4.5W adapter, the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Note 10+ can theoretically charge at 45W. Most of Samsung’s current-generation flagships support Adaptive Fast Charging up to 25W with the adapter in the box. It’s important to note that while some Samsung phones support older versions of Qualcomm Quick Charge, you’ll see much faster speeds using the adapter that comes with the phone or a Samsung-certified adapter.
What Is Wireless Fast Charging?
Wireless charging is convenient, but it can be slow. Most wireless chargers that lack fans or cooling systems are limited to charging speeds of just 5V/1A. But various companies now offer fast wireless charging pads that come with built-in fans to dissipate heat, allowing you to charge at speeds nearly on par with a cable.
Voltage and amperage depend on the charging pad in question. Once again, you’ll want to make sure that your phone and your wireless charging pad support the same fast charging standard. Also keep in mind you’ll need a wall adapter plugged into the pad that supports fast charging as well.
There are lots of variables to think about when buying a wireless charger, so we’ve done the homework for you by creating a list of the best wireless charging pads based on your phone and budget.
Fast Charging Beyond Your Phone
For laptops, the fast charging situation is a bit different. USB Power Delivery (PD) isn’t so much fast charging as it is a standard that determines if an adapter or portable power bank is capable of charging a laptop or other high-powered device. With USB-C input/output ports now pretty much standard, it’s possible for adapters and power banks to charge devices that require an output of 18W or more. The Power Delivery spec allows a device to be charged at a maximum current of 5A or 100W.
Power Delivery 3.0 is quickly becoming the standard for power banks and adapters. It supports outputs at 7.5W, 15W, 27W, and 45W, each with its own voltage and amperage configurations. This means PD adapters with multiple USB-C ports can intelligently dole out power to multiple devices, so a 45W adapter may supply 18W to charge your phone, 5W to a wearable, and the remaining 22W to a tablet.
What You Need for Fast Charging
Depending on the device you have, the fast charging standard you’re able to use will vary. Check what your phone supports, then look at your wall adapter to see if it supports the same standard (they’re usually labeled). Then make sure your cable is compatible (you’re best off using one the one that come with your phone or adapter). If you need to buy a new wall adapter, cable, or wireless charging pad, take note of what standard it supports.
What makes a good charging cable
Your cable influences the charging speed of your device so even if you have the latest fast charger you might still not be charging at the fastest possible speed.
What is the difference between cables?
From the outside, many cables all look the same but on the inside, the construction is different and many cables have a slow only design. It all comes down to the wire’s ability to carry a fast speed.
Inside a USB cable are 4 wires,
- The white and green are for data.
- The red and black are 5V and carry the power for charging, these determine charge speed. (Some fast-charging protocols can be up to 20V)
The amount of power your cable can carry is determined by the size of the 2 power wires inside, a standard cable is 28 gauge and is capable of about .5A, this is the standard charge rate. A faster charger cable has larger internal wires (mostly 24 gauge) that can carry larger currents of 2A or more.
The relationship between gauge and the total current is basic electrical physics, a wire is limited in the amount of current it can transfer therefore a larger wire can carry more current. This effect is even worse if you buy really long USB charger cables, you get a longer cable at the price of charging speed. Cable makers can make a low gauge cable cheaper than a fast one, so that is why fast charger cables are usually more expensive as the wires inside are larger. As most devices now are fast compatible, I expect to slowly see all third party cables become faster. Currently, there are mostly slow standard cables in the market so if you are ready for fast charging, be sure to check your cables are also ready for your latest device and charger.
Cables like these come in cool colors and are really long. Most of these style cables though are high gauge and really slow down your charging speeds. Ok if you are in bed or in the office but not useful for fast charging and on newer phones. Some of these cables are so long that if you are using it while charging the battery may not even charge.
Need a fast charging cable?
Firstly check your device is fast charger capable (most are) and you have a charger capable of supplying a faster rate. Then check the original cable that came with your device, some larger phones and tablets come with fast good size cables so test with that first; if you don’t have the original, grab a fast charger cable that matches your device and desired length, and enjoy your fully compatible fast-charging system.
We have a few fast charger brands for Android and Apple but we strongly recommend BlitzWolf chargers. They offer great value and performance.
fast charging micro usb cable
While fast charging technology may be built into your device by default, the accessories you use to charge your devices also go a long way in determining how fast (or slow) your device charges. Cables vary in terms of how fast they charge, durability, length, price, and other factors.
Fast charging cables vs. Regular cables
There are different types of USB cables even though they are not exactly easy to tell apart, physically. And yes, USB cables can also impact how quickly your device’s battery would get to 100%. Typically, to enjoy the fast charging speed of a device with quick charging technology, you must ensure that you’re also using a fast charging power brick and a fast charging cable.
But what differentiates a regular cable from a fast charging cable? The amount of power sent to your device’s battery at a given time. Compared to regular cables, fast charging cables are able to send more current to fill up your battery’s capacity quicker than a regular cable.
Regular USB cables send about 2.5 watts of power to your smartphone’s battery while fast charging cables (depending on the manufacturer and your model of your smartphone) can send as high as 120W or power to your battery. Xiaomi’s Super Charge Turbo charger, for example, comes with a fast cable that can supply as high as 100W to a battery. Vivo’s FlashCharge, which is capable of charging 4,000mAh battery in 13 minutes, comes with a fast charging cable that can send up to 120W of power to a battery.
If you use a regular USB cable to charge and a fast charging power brick/adapter to charge a smartphone, you will definitely not get fast charging speed. This is because the regular cable is limited in the amount of power it can send to a device.
Why are fast charging cables “fast”?
As mentioned earlier, how fast a cable charges depends on the amount of power yhe cable.is built to carry. This is equally dependent on the size of the wire inside the cable; it’s simple physics.
A wire is limited in the amount of current it can transfer therefore a larger wire can carry more current.
The wires you’d find inside a regular USB cable are usually standard-sized 28 guage wires while fast charging cables have bigger/thicker 24 guage wires which allows for more current to be supplied to a battery of the same size. See the image below for better pictorial representation of the size difference between a 28 guage wire and a 24 guage wire.
The standard wires in a regular USB cables can supply about carry about 0.5A of current while fast charging cables are capable of carrying larger currents (2A or more).
Identifying Fast Charging cables
Because all cables have no easily identifiable features that distinguishes them into standard and regular cables, it is always difficult to tell a regular cable from a fast charging cable. Same way it is to differentiate data cables from charge-only cables. Nonetheless, there are still some easy ways to identify a fast charging cable should you need to buy one for your smartphone.
1. Check the label/description
Some cable manufacturers really make it easy for users to tell the type of cable they are about to spend money on. When picking up a cable, you can check the cable branding, label, or description for anything that points to the cable supporting fast charging. Some cables are properly labor as fast charging/quick charging so (potential) buyers know what they are signing up for.
2. Check for cable amperage
Another thing to look out for on a cable to determine of it is a fast charging cable is the amperage. As earlier mentioned, fast charging cables are capable of carrying larger currents of 2A or more. That said, if you need to buy a fast charging cable, be sure to pick out one labelled to support 2A of current or the specific current that enables your smartphone charge rapidly.
3. Thicker cables
Because fast charging cables have thick wires inside of them, it is commonly believed that thicker cables charge faster than their slim cable. This is sometimes true but it is not exactly an effective way of identifying a fast charging cable. However, for obvious reasons, you should shy away from purchasing ridiculously thin cables.
4. Buy from official/certified stores
To save you the hassle of identifying and differentiating a regular cable from a fast charging cable, buy cables from certified stores. More preferably, the store of your smartphone manufacturer. This is because some OEMs have their fast charging standard and specific cable requirements. If you purchase accessories from your smartphone maker, you are sure to be given a genuine fast-charging cable. Amazon is obviously a trusted online store and you can get Anker double-braided Nylong fast charging cables at just $12.99.
USB Type C Cable, Anker [2-Pack 6ft] Powerline+ USB-C to USB-A, Double-Braided Nylon Fast Charging Cable, for Samsung…$14.99Rated 4.7 out of 5 by 4696 reviewers on Amazon.comBuy Now
In a nutshell, if you have a smartphone that charges rapidly, having a fast charging cable is just as important as having a fast charging power adapter. They go hand in hand. It can get pretty confusing understanding why a cable charges faster than another but I hope it’s pretty clear now.